Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB

News feature

Plugin 75

Stephane Malka shows the power of parasitic architecture with eco-friendly ‘plug-in’ extensions


The studio of French architect Stephane Malka have unveiled the latest iteration of their ‘parasitic architecture’ concept, with an ambitious plan to graft extensions, bow-windows and loggias onto one of Paris’s lacklustre and poorly-performing 1970s buildings.

The project, called Plug-In City 75, will transform an apartment block in the French capital’s 16th arrondissement by ‘plugging in’ custom-made prefabricated elements to the outside of the structure.

Old windows, bad insulation and the presence of heat bridges mean the building’s energy consumption is high, while the flats inside are dark and gloomy.

Now the co-owners have commissioned Malka to optimise the properties using his own brand of parasitic design – an environmentally-friendly and economical solution to creating living space in urban areas short of space for new developments.

While Paris’ property law has been relaxed to lift planning restrictions, particularly for rooftops, it still does not allow the height of buildings to be raised. Therefore, grafting elements to expand outwards is one of the most practical solutions to finding more space.

Each inhabitant has requested the ideal surface area they require for their apartment. Those on the ground floor will be extended outwards, using modular prefabricated boxes built from bio-sourced natural wood and attached to the existing façade of the building. The top of these boxes will then become a private terrace for first-floor residents.

This pattern of cubes will be repeated up the building, with each differently-sized box allowing for two levels of extension – one covered interior space, and one interstitial terrace, balcony, box garden or loggia for the floor above.

The lightness of the wood, made from wood particles and chips, will allow flexibility when it comes to installing the mini-structures on site.

“The accumulation of extensions on the façade divides the energy consumption of the building by four, down to 45KWh per square metre per year,” Malka told CLAD. “Thus the building is transformed and adapted to the real needs of its inhabitants.

“The truth is our cities cannot hold any more people, so we need more space. But instead of tearing everything down and building taller, the best bet is to add to what is already there by attaching to rooftops, blind walls and façades.

“Parasitic architecture is a faster, cheaper, simpler and more ecological approach, and it can create a new dynamic inside the city.”

While Malka’s work has mostly been applied to residential projects, he said the concept has many potential leisure applications. Low-cost music venues, eateries, bars, shops, sports facilities and museums could be brought to busy cities without the need to first tear down old buildings to create space.

“This model can work on any type of façade, except for glass,” he said. “Imagine on a blind wall you could attach a bar just made from these plug-in units.

“You could even use it just for temporary events. You plug in a box when you need some leisure space, then you unplug it and move it somewhere else.”

Gallery
Click on an image to open the image gallery
company profile
Company profile: Blu Spas, Inc.
Blu is a full-service firm offering consulting, advisory and operating solutions.
videos
BluGalaxy a Division of Blu Spas
Blu Spas
This animation showcases the beautiful concept design of BluGalaxy Spa.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
De Portzamparc designed
the Museum of Brittany, which opened in Rennes in 2006
Elizabeth de Portzamparc
"We need to stop the destruction of our world through predatory practices. We need to think of the future"

The architect behind Nimes’ Musée de la Romanité on designing to counter loneliness and the need for more cultural buildings

The reception features a Karel Teige collage artwork
Tina Norden
"We have created an approach which is playful, provocative but also functional"

Conran and Partners’ Tina Norden on playing with colour at Prague’s newly redesigned Hotel Maximilian

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, US
José Almiñana
"We are committed to designing evocative landscapes informed by the best environmental science"

The Andropogon principal on pushing the boundaries of landscape design for the benefit of humans and nature

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
Francis graduated as a landscape architect in Belgium. He returned to Lebanon in 1993
"I believe gardens are where the soul rests"

With a focus on desert landscapes and collaborations with Zaha Hadid and OMA, the principal of Francis Landscapes has a deep belief in the power of nature

SHL’s Monroe Blocks mixed development in Detroit, US
"Most clients are very focused on how buildings are used and experienced as the primary design driver"

The MD of Schmidt Hammer Lassen and the CEO of PerkinsWill tell us why their merger will help create smarter buildings driven by human behaviour

features
Martin Jochman founded JADE+QA in 2013. He formerly worked for Atkins
"We didn’t want to put in any gimmicks. We wanted to create a building that’s inherently sustainable through passive sustainability"

When Martin Jochman set out to transform an old quarry into a luxury hotel, he faced some serious challenges

The book was published in 2019 by RIBA Publishing
Elina Grigoriou
"Temperature, noise level and colour affect our stress levels. As designers we should be asking ourselves, how do these things match up?"

The London-based interior designer and wellness expert hopes her new book will help readers understand how to design with wellbeing in mind

cladkit product news
LianTronics’ glasses-free 3D Star Trek LED screen attracts attention
Magali Robathan
LianTronics’ giant curved LED wall with stunning glasses-less 3D spaceship display effect has attracted many on the street of Chengdu, ...
Christie laser projectors power new Five Senses Bubble dome theatre
The dome aims to integrate technology with arts and culture
Magali Robathan
Christie® GS Series 1DLP® laser projectors are delivering vivid and lifelike visuals in a new dome theatre located in Xiong’an ...
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
cladkit product news
ASPA International launches handheld UV-C light disinfection lamp
The compact plug-in product can be used easily in a commercial spa or domestic setting to disinfect surfaces with UV-C light
Megan Whitby
For over 30 years, ASPA International has designed and built high-quality spas for the hotel, health and wellness sectors. During ...
Diamond balloon concept merges tourist attraction with advertising billboard
Magali Robathan
A group of Dutch engineers have presented a new attractions concept that combines a flying observation cabin with LED digital ...
Atelier Alain Ellouz launches handcrafted precious stone lighting collection
LYRA has a sleek, cylindrical design complete with an elegant brass dimming switch
Megan Whitby
LYRA, GAMA, MONA and ATHENA are the first pieces from designer Atelier Alain Ellouz’s new.édition collection of handcrafted stone lighting ...
cladkit product news
Fabio Alemanno Design uses elegant semi-precious stones to create memorable spa experiences
Alemanno believes the stones are well-placed in the spa environment thanks to their capacity to positively support physical and mental health
Megan Whitby
Fabio Alemanno Design has expanded its collection with semi-precious stones to enhance spas, wellness facilities, hotels and private residences. The ...
Siminetti unveils first glimpses of Mother of Pearl decorative surfaces inspired by the four seasons
The new winter design is finished with naturally occurring hexagonal patterns found in snowflakes
Megan Whitby
Siminetti has collaborated with British designer Chrisanna London to create a luxury Mother of Pearl decorative surface range inspired by ...
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
x
Email this to a friend or colleague
I am happy for Leisure Media to contact me occasionally by email and understand that I can opt out at any time.
News feature: Plugin 75
Is parasitic architecture the answer for cities short on space? Stephane Malka thinks so
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB